Aug. 18, 2015 By Jackie Strawbridge
The long-awaited Astoria Park Amphitheater will include hundreds of seats, a new entrance and a tribute to the diving pool it is replacing, according to the Parks Department.
The design plan was finalized in April, which will transform Astoria Park’s defunct diving pool into an outdoor performance space.
Built in 1936 but closed for decades, the dilapidated diving pool is no longer up to code. In 2012, the Parks Depart. began the process to build an amphitheater. However, delays in obtaining materials needed for grading and drainage slowed down progress.
Design plans will provide seating for up to 500 spectators, Parks Department spokesperson Meghan Lalor said.
However, the Parks Dept. is looking into expanding the viewing area to include up to 1,600 seats, depending on Department of Buildings approval.
Construction will involve filling in the pool, creating a platform for the stage area, adding seating and installing pavement. Parks will also build a new entrance directly into the amphitheater.
The site also includes a distinctive, 32-foot Olympic high dive tower. Lalor said this dive tower will be “restored as a centerpiece to honor the history of the site.”
On the day it opened in 1936, the Astoria Park Pool hosted the Olympic swimming and diving trials.
Astoria Pool was designated a City landmark in 2006; its decorative glass block and brickwork, waterfront location and ties to the Works Progress Administration all contributed to its historic and architectural significance, the Landmarks Preservation Commission wrote at the time.
LPC approved the amphitheater project in 2014.
The project is now in the procurement phase. Construction is expected to begin spring 2016 and take between 12 and 18 months to complete.
I wish the pool became an ice skating rink in the winter and shore blvd would be a great places for picnic tables and chairs.
Love the amphitheater. I used the pool like maybe once in the 60’s and never returned. It became overrun with outsiders and troublemakers and was no longer an Astoria community experience. With proper programming, the amphitheater will appeal to local residents and their artistic interests. Plus, the idea of being half-naked in the same water with urinaters, defecaters, perverts and heavens knows what else doesn’t fit modern society.
The theater sounds like a great idea but I would have perfered the diving pool to be restored and brought back in all its glory … The proposal to ban traffic is exactly that a proposal it will not happen Valone tryed a few years back lasted only a month …
With the proposal to ban traffic from Shore Boulevard and the Amphitheater Design, Astoria Park is changing for the better. I look forward to the Arts and festivities both places will bring.